May 1, 2018: Nurses Sentenced to Prison for Stealing Opioids from Colorado Hospitals
DENVER – The United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado announces that two Colorado nurses who stole opioids from hospitals were sentenced to prison by the Honorable R. Brooke Jackson of the United States District Court for the District of Colorado.
Lisa Marie Jones, 43, of Castle Rock, was sentenced to fourteen months imprisonment to be followed by three years of supervised release on April 19, 2018. According to Court documents, Jones was a nurse at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Denver, and a free-standing UCHealth emergency room in 2016, when she stole hydromorphone, morphine, and fentanyl from the facilities for personal use. Jones primarily stole the “waste” medication left after administering the controlled substances to patients. She tampered with two vials of fentanyl at the emergency facility, removing all of the drug, replacing it with saline, and “re-sealing” the vials with skin glue. Jones placed the tampered vials back into the automated medication management machine for potential use on future patients. The tampered vials were discovered before they could be used on any patients. Jones previously pleaded guilty to one count of theft of a controlled substance by deception and one count of tampering with a consumer product. The Court sentenced Jones to fourteen months of imprisonment and three years of supervised release on each count, to run concurrently.
Marlene Gilmore, 28, of Wellington, was sentenced to four months imprisonment to be followed by one year of supervised release on April 26, 2018. According to Court documents, Gilmore was a nurse at North Colorado Medical Center in 2016 when she stole fentanyl, morphine, and hydromorphone from the locked automated medication management system. Gilmore pleaded guilty to one count of theft of a controlled substance by deception. Evidence showed that she used drugs while on the job.
“These nurses put their patients at risk so they could get high. For that they will go to prison,” said U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer. “Patients place enormous trust in their health care providers. Caregivers who betray that trust will pay with their own freedom.”
“Patients deserve to have confidence that they are receiving the proper treatment from those entrusted with providing their medical care,” said Spence E. Morrison, Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations, Kansas City Field Office. “We will continue to pursue and bring to justice any healthcare professionals who put their patients’ health at risk by tampering with their pain medications.”
Gregg Hirstein, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of Inspector General, Central Field Office added, “The VA OIG remains dedicated to protecting our nation's heroes in the patient care environment. The seriousness of tampering with medications and drug use by healthcare providers is evident. We will continue to hold such offenders accountable.”
The cases were investigated by the Food and Drug Administration. The Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General also investigated the Jones case. AUSA Anna Edgar represented the United States. The cases are captioned, United States v. Jones, Case No. 17-cr-00352-RBJ, and United States v. Gilmore, Case No. 17-cr-00401-RBJ.
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